September 18, 2004
Trip Start Aug 08, 2004
34Trip End Aug 2005
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
I teach 8 classes of Junior One level students, which roughly translates to 7th grade. I see them twice a week, and teach some additional "English Corners" on top of that. Sixty kids to a class...it's been interesting, to say the least. The week before I started teaching, the other English teachers looked at my schedule and shook their heads and said something to the effect of "your students are very active." I didn't fully grasp what
they meant until my first day, when I had kids practically climbing out the windows
I have one student who told me her name is Flag, one who will only answer to Michael Ben Jake Jordan, another boy named Plant...Some of my friends are teaching kids who have named themselves Rubbish, Genius, Bamboo Ice Queen, God, and Gorilla, to name a few. My only hope is that they never actually try to use those names in an English speaking country.
My Chinese teacher in Changsha had given me a Chinese name, Luo Lan. Many of my students have taken to calling me Miss Luo, since they seem to have trouble with the "r" in my English name. I was initially disappointed when my teacher told me that Lan meant "plant," which seemed really mundane. I was hoping for something more along the lines of a "Summer morning rain" or "Eternal peace and happiness." However, upon further consultation I learned that my name actually means "orchid," which I suppose I can live with.
The cockroaches seem to have left the building, only to be replaced with some lizards, which I found climbing the wall above my bed
This past weekend, the group celebrated a birthday at Pizza Hut--my first non-Chinese food experience in about a month, which was utterly satisfying. I never realized how much I've missed eating cheese and feeling that carb-induced coma. Oddly enough, Pizza Hut is something of a luxury restaurant here since it is so much more expensive than other places, and I've witnessed times when the line to get inside wraps around the block.
Last weekend, I stayed in Liuyang for a huge festival, sponsored by the Hunan Tourism Bureau. Over 100,000 people stood by the banks of the Liuyang River dressed in matching shirts and sang a song, appropriately enough entitled "Liuyang River." I went with my work unit of fellow teachers and was given a Chinese flag to wave in unison to the beat of the music--I felt like such a good patriotic Communist worker. Later that night, there was a massive fireworks display.
Each here day feels like an eternity